Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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August 26, 2013

County calls bond election

Corsicana — The Navarro County Commissioners Court voted unanimously Monday to call for a $7.5 million bond election on Nov. 5, a vote that will decide the fate of the proposed courthouse restoration project.

Aided by a $4.4 million state preservation grant, and a grant of $1 million announced last week by the Navarro Community Foundation, the proposed three-year project now only goes forward if voters approve the package.

A previous presentation by bond attorneys advising the county on the bond issue called for a $6.5 million debt issue. Commissioners decided on a $7.5 million package, which gives the county more flexibility regarding an annex building that will be needed should the courthouse restoration take place. The $7.5 million issue will allow the county to either buy and remodel an existing facility, or have ample funds to construct a new annex building, said County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr.

Talks have been held with the Corsicana Independent School District regarding the possible purchase of the CISD Administration building and annex located north of the Justice Center on North 13th Street for use as a permanent annex. The annex will be needed should the historic restoration take place, because some existing offices in the courthouse would be displaced by the work as dictated by the Texas Historical Commission. That work includes moving the elevator from its present location to the east side of the building, and restoring a third-floor balcony overlooking the district courtroom, and other changes to restore the courthouse floor plan to its original look.

The tax assessor/collector, probation and extension service offices have been mentioned during planning sessions as likely candidates for an annex building relocation.

Davenport said they are waiting on the county’s financial advisor to supply revised numbers regarding details of the proposed $7.5 million bond issue, and expects to have them this week.

There shouldn’t be an impact on the 2013-14 tax rate, however. Commissioners also voted Monday their intent to maintain the county’s current combined property tax rate of .6270 per $100 taxable valuation. A formal vote on the tax rate is set for Sept. 9.

Commissioners took no action on items discussed in two closed sessions Monday to discuss personnel and real estate.

A budget workshop was recessed until 9 a.m. Tuesday.

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